My Lai Vietnam 1968 And The Descent Into Darkness Pdf

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My Lai : Vietnam, 1968, and the descent into darkness

William Laws Calley Jr. After getting low grades and dropping out of Palm Beach Junior College, he tried to enlist in , but was rejected because of a hearing defect.

Two years later, with the escalation in Vietnam, standards for enrollees changed and Calley—neither a valedictorian nor a troublemaker, just a fairly typical American young man trying to figure out what to do with his life—was called up. Before the decade was over Second Lieutenant Calley would become one of the most controversial figures in the country, if not the world.

On March 16, , during a roughly four-hour operation in the Vietnamese village of Son My, American soldiers killed approximately civilians, including pregnant women and infants, gang-raped women and burned a village to ashes.

Calley, though a low-ranking officer in Charlie Company, stood out because of the sheer number of civilians he was accused of killing and ordering killed. The red-haired Miami native known to friends as Rusty became the face of the massacre, which was named after one of the sub-hamlets where the killings took place, My Lai 4.

His story dominated headlines, along with the Apollo 12 moon landing and the trial of Charles Manson. His case became a kind of litmus test for American values, a question not only of who was to blame for My Lai, but how America should conduct war and what constitutes a war crime.

He was set free after serving less than four years. Since that time, Calley has almost entirely avoided the press. Now 74 years old, he declined to be interviewed for this story. But I was able to piece together a picture of his life and legacy by reviewing court records and interviewing his fellow soldiers and close friends. I traveled to Son My, where survivors are still waiting for him to come back and make amends. And I visited Columbus, Georgia, where Calley lived for nearly 30 years.

I wanted to know whether Calley, a convicted mass murderer and one of the most notorious figures in 20th-century history, had ever expressed true contrition or lived a normal life. The landscape surrounding Son My is still covered with rice paddies, as it was 50 years ago. There are still water buffalo fertilizing the fields and chickens roaming. Most of the roads are still dirt. On a recent Wednesday afternoon, ten young men were drinking beer and smoking cigarettes at the side of one of those roads.

Tran Nam was 6 years old when he heard gunshots from inside his mud and straw home in Son My. It was early morning and he was having breakfast with his extended family, 14 people in all. The U. Army had come to the village a couple of times previously during the war. So the family kept on eating. People collapsed one by one. Nam saw the bullet-ridden bodies of his family falling—his grandfather, his parents, his older brother, his younger brother, his aunt and cousins.

He ran into a dimly lit bedroom and hid under the bed. He heard more soldiers enter the house, and then more gunshots. When the heat grew unbearable, Nam ran out the door and hid in a ditch as his village burned. Of the 14 people at breakfast that morning, 13 were shot and 11 killed. Only Nam made it out physically unscathed. The six U. They killed some civilians straight off—shooting them point blank or tossing grenades into their homes.

I did it. A lot of people were doing it, and I just followed. I lost all sense of direction. Soldiers gathered together villagers along a trail going through the village and also along an irrigation ditch to the east. Calley and year-old Pvt. First Class Paul Meadlo mowed the people down with Ms, burning through several clips in the process. The soldiers killed as many as people in those two areas of Son My, including 79 children.

Witnesses said Calley also shot a praying Buddhist monk and a young Vietnamese woman with her hands up. When he saw a 2-year-old boy who had crawled out of the ditch, Calley threw the child back in and shot him. Truong Thi Le, then a rice farmer, told me she was hiding in her home with her 6-year-old son and year-old daughter when the Americans found them and dragged them out.

When the soldiers fired an M into their group, most died then and there. Le fell on top of her son and two bodies fell on top of her. Hours later, they emerged from the pile alive. When I asked about her daughter, Le, who had maintained her composure up till that point, covered her face with her hands and broke down in tears.

When it was safe to move, Le found Thu sitting and holding her grandmother, who was already dead. Nguyen Hong Man, 13 at the time of the massacre, told me he went into an underground tunnel with his 5-year-old niece to hide, only to watch her get shot right in front of him. People who were covered with a lot of blood and stayed still got the chance to survive, while kids did not.

Many of them died as they cried for their parents in terror. Initially, the U. Army portrayed the massacre as a great victory over Viet Cong forces, and that story might never have been challenged had it not been for a helicopter gunner named Ronald Ridenhour. He did some investigating on his own and then waited until he finished his service.

William Enemark, to launch a fact-finding mission, led by Col. William Wilson. At a hotel in Terre Haute, Indiana, Wilson spoke to Meadlo, the soldier who with Calley had gunned down the rows of villagers. In a hotel room in Ohio, before a stunned investigator, Haeberle projected on a hung-up bedsheet horrifying images of piled dead bodies and frightened Vietnamese villagers.

Eighteen months later, in March , a court-martial with a jury of six fellow officers, including five who had served in Vietnam, found Calley guilty of murdering at least 22 civilians and sentenced him to life in prison.

That was my enemy out there. His name became a rallying cry on both the right and the left. Hawks said Calley had been simply doing his job. Within three months of the verdict, the White House received more than , letters and telegrams, almost all in support of the convicted soldier. Calley himself received 10, letters and packages a day. His military defense counsel, Maj. He later welded shut the doors of his car, refusing to come out until Calley was set free. Politicians, noting the anger of their constituents, made gestures of their own.

Indiana Gov. Nixon fell short of a pardon, but he ordered that Calley remain under house arrest in his apartment at Fort Benning, where he could play badminton in the backyard and hang out with his girlfriend. He was set free in November after serving three and a half years, most of it at his apartment.

In the months after his release, Calley made a few public appearances, and then moved a minute drive down the road to Columbus, Georgia, where he disappeared into private life. Situated along the Chattahoochee River, Columbus is first and foremost a military town. Infantry School since and today supports more than , civilian and military personnel.

Bob Poydasheff, the former mayor of Columbus, says there was controversy when Calley moved to town. Still, Calley became a familiar face around Columbus.

One of their wedding guests was U. District Judge J. After the wedding, Calley began working at the jewelry shop. In the s, he applied for a real estate license and was initially denied because of his criminal record. He did so, and Calley got the license while continuing to work at the shop. Al Fleming, a former local TV news anchor, described Calley as a soft-spoken man. He and I were the best of friends for a long time.

After our dinner, Fleming gave me a tour in his tiny red Fiat, pausing to point out the house where Calley lived for nearly 30 years. The Army had participated heavily in the production, providing uniforms, helicopters and other equipment.

In the s, the Green Beret house caught fire. When the neighbors rushed out to form a bucket brigade, Calley was right there with everyone else, trying to put out the flames. During his time in Columbus, Calley mostly succeeded in keeping himself out of the national spotlight. Hyatt, the journalist, used to go to V. Vick Jewelers every few years, on the anniversary of the massacre, to try to get an interview with Calley, but was always politely denied. He even worked hard to try to infuse new ideas into the store to help it grow and be more profitable, all of which were rejected by Mrs.

He fell into a depression and moved to Atlanta to stay with Laws, living off his savings until it was gone. Calley and his son remain close. Vick and Laws also declined to be interviewed for this story. He and his co-counsel called about witnesses to testify against Calley.

By the time the divorce was settled, according to the court documents, Calley was suffering from prostate cancer and gastrointestinal problems. Fleming set up the talk, on a Wednesday afternoon.

No reporters were invited, but a retired local newsman surreptitiously blogged about it online and the local paper picked up the story. I am very sorry.

Mỹ Lai massacre

Between and unarmed people were killed by U. Victims included men, women, children, and infants. Some of the women were gang-raped and their bodies mutilated, as were children as young as Found guilty of killing 22 villagers, he was originally given a life sentence, but served only three-and-a-half years under house arrest. The U. Army slang name for the hamlets and sub-hamlets in that area was Pinkville , [6] and the carnage was initially referred to as the Pinkville Massacre. Army started its investigation, the media changed it to the Massacre at Songmy.

of the Vietnam War. On 16 March , two US Army infantry companies swept through a group of. My Lai: Vietnam, , and the Descent into Darkness, by Howard Jones. My Lai: Vietnam PDF; Split View. Views.

(PDF) My Lai: Vietnam, 1968, and the Descent into Darkness by Howard Jones

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My Lai: Vietnam, 1968, and the Descent into Darkness (Pivotal Moments in American History)

Claude H. March 16, , marks the fiftieth anniversary of the My Lai massacre, when U.

My Lai Vietnam 1968 And The Descent Into Darkness Pivotal Moments In American History

A brief but moving clip of the wonderful guide concluding a tour at the ditch where US soldiers dumped the bodies of of the civilians they killed on March 16, Her mother survived by lying still under the bodies of others on that day. She is now the director of the My Lai museum located on the site of the massacre in Vietnam. Thanks to Rick Hind.

My Lai is a story about the failure of leadership and the moral courage to see justice done. The challenge in any book about an incident such as My Lai is two-fold: first, the author must present a clear story from the multitude of confusing eyewitness accounts, and second, the author must be impartial. Jones does a superb job on both accounts.

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William Laws Calley Jr. After getting low grades and dropping out of Palm Beach Junior College, he tried to enlist in , but was rejected because of a hearing defect. Two years later, with the escalation in Vietnam, standards for enrollees changed and Calley—neither a valedictorian nor a troublemaker, just a fairly typical American young man trying to figure out what to do with his life—was called up.

They were under-strength because they had been suffering casualties from mines, booby traps and snipers. They were told they were about to get revenge for their losses, fighting an important enemy unit, the Viet Cong 48th Local Force Battalion. The 48th turned out not to be there, though it was only three miles away.

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    March 16, , marks the fiftieth anniversary of the My Lai massacre, when U.S. soldiers killed Vietnamese civilians, mostly old men, women, My Lai: Vietnam, , and the Descent into Darkness PDF; Split View.

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